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DOCUMENTS ON AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE AND FOREIGN POLICY 1968-75

Senator Evans, pursuant to notice, moved--That the Senate views with grave concern the attempts by the Government to suppress the publication of the book Documents on Australian Defence and Foreign Policy 1968-75 and extracts therefrom, noting in particular:

(a) the far-reaching implications for the future of democratic and open government in Australia if the Government should receive High Court endorsement in this case for its arguments based on breach of confidence, breach of Crown copyright or alleged breaches of the Crimes Act;

(b) the intimidatory and dishonest behaviour allegedly engaged in by Government officials in advising book-sellers and others against whom no injunction had been granted that distribution of the material by them would be illegal; and (c) the absurd and self-defeating nature of the Government's actions to date in this matter, both in Australia and overseas, which--by virtue of their belated and ineffectual character--have apparently served only to give greater circulation and notoriety to the material in question than would otherwise have been the case.

Debate ensued.

Question--put.

The Senate divided--

AYES, 23

Senator-- Senator-- Bishop McClelland Button McIntosh Cavanagh McLaren Chipp Mulvihill Coleman O'Byrne Colston Primmer Elstob Ryan Evans Sibraa Georges Walsh Grimes Wheeldon Hearn TeLLer: McAuliffe Robertson

NOES, 32

Senator-- Senator-- Archer Martyr Baume Maunsell Bjelke-Petersen Messner Carrick Missen Chaney Neal Collard Puplick Davidson Rae Durack Scott Guilfoyle, Sim Dame Margaret Thomas Hamer Townley Harradine Waters Jessop Watson Lajovic Withers Laucke, Young Sir Condor MacGibbon Teller: Martin Kilgariff

And so it was negatived.